Type 2 Diabetes is on the Rise in Children! – It is hard to come to terms with the fact Type 2 diabetes, once only diagnosed in mature people, is now being diagnosed in children and teens. At one time, only 1 to 2 per cent of newly-diagnosed pediatric diabetics had Type 2 diabetes. Recent studies in the United States show the number has increased from 8 to 45 per cent. It is difficult to know when diabetes or pre-diabetes actually begins because it can go undiagnosed for years, but it is commonly diagnosed between 10 to 19 years.
Some school systems have studied the problem and arrived at possible solutions to it. Last month the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a study on school-based interventions for reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes among their students. The children were at high risk for diabetes due to:
ethnic group and
Twenty-one schools were assigned to either a multicomponent intervention while another 21 were randomly assigned to a control group that assessed students, but did not intervene. The study began:
at the beginning of the 6th grade and finished at the end of 8th grade
more than 4000 students began the study at age 11
body mass index, waist circumference, fasting glucose and insulin levels were measured at the beginning and end of the study
After 2 years, the schools with the interventions had greater reductions in a high waist measurement, high fasting insulin level and obesity, than the control schools.
These findings were in keeping with earlier work published in the journal Pediatrics in 2008. Workers at the Center for Obesity Research and Education, Temple University, Philadelphia looked at the effects of a multicomponent school nutrition policy initiative to prevent overweight and obesity.
more than 1300 students in grades 4 through 6 in ten different schools, took part in the study over 2 years
students were those eligible for free or reduced-price meals, which included students at risk due to their socioeconomic status
schools were randomly assigned to an intervention or control group.
The intervention included nutrition education, nutrition policy, social marketing and outreach to parents. After 2 years the intervention group showed 7.5 per cent of children becoming overweight while 14.9 per cent of the children in the control schools became overweight. The overall number of overweight children was lower in the intervention schools than in the controls. The authors concluded that the intervention program was successful.
If Type 2 diabetes is a concern in your family, it might be worthwhile to take an interest in your child’s school nutrition and physical education policies. Obesity is the greatest single risk factor for Type 2 diabetes in children, especially obesity involving ‘belly fat’ or central obesity.
A healthy diet for children with Type 2 diabetes is:
eating 5 to 9 servings of vegetables and fruits daily
along with servings of whole grains
some low fat dairy
a small portion of lean protein and
just a little fat or sugary foods
This is the basis of a healthy diet for anyone with Type 2 diabetes… both adults and children.